There's no need to review the story of The Little Mermaid. Everyone knows how Ariel falls in love with Eric and needs the help of the evil Ursula to get her legs. We all know it has a happy ending. We all know about the cute secondary characters in Flounder and Sebastian. And of course there is the great music by the legendary team of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. I loved this movie from the first time I saw it and so instead of a review, I'll tell you a story about the first time I saw The Little Mermaid.
Back in high school I had 4 close friends. We were all big movie buffs and saw pretty much anything and everything that came out in theaters. A couple of us also worked in a video store so we were able to rent movies left and right. So one night we head to the store trying to find a movie or two none of us had seen. Needless to say, that wasn't an easy thing to do. After wandering around for almost an hour, we settled on two movies. One, of course, was The Little Mermaid (otherwise this story would really be pointless.) The second? I'll give you a minute to think of a film that's on the complete opposite end of The Little Mermaid.
That's right, the second movie we rented that night was Scarface. So we all went back to my house and in between games of ping pong in the basement, we watched Scarface and The Little Mermaid. Based on history and what I knew of myself, I figured I'd hate the Disney flick and love Scarface. Well, that turned out not to be true. This all happened about 15-16 years ago and since then, I've seen The Little Mermaid about 20-30 times, while Scarface I've never watched again. That must say something.
That night started my love of Disney animation. Until then I had never watched a feature length Disney film. Since then, I've not only watched almost every one ever created, I've bought most of them. Granted most of them are on VHS, but I've slowly started to collect them on DVD and Mermaid is my second (after the classic Beauty and the Beast.) I fell in love with Disney films back then and I'm kind of sad the heyday of Disney animation seems to have died. With the giants of Mermaid, Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King , they made movies that looked great, had amazing animation, and music you could sing along to. They were picture perfect movies. These days, with the advent of digital animation, it feels like the heart has been taken out of Disney films. There's too much reliance on trying to make the movie look better than the competitors. Too much a need for having 'name' actors voicing the characters. Robin Williams in Aladdin was great, but think about the other films. Matthew Broderick was arguably the biggest name voice in the big 4 films. And the stories don't seem to be as fun anymore.
However, thanks to DVD we can now see the original classic the way it is meant to be seen and heard. The Little Mermaid was the Disney film that started my love of Disney films, and to this day is my all-time favorite animated film. Hell, it's one of my all-time favorite movies of any genre. If you haven't seen it go out and get it now. And if you have seen it, just not in a while, go out and get it so you can remember what animated movies used to be like.
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